- File Size: 1777 KB
- Print Length: 257 pages
- Publisher: Random House; Reprint edition (July 29, 2014)
- Publication Date: July 29, 2014
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00IBZ5ZRY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,896 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Lucky Us: A Novel Kindle Edition
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“These two things about Amy Bloom’s surprise-filled Lucky Us are indisputable: It opens with a terrific hook and closes with an image of exquisite resolution. . . . She writes sharp, sparsely beautiful scenes that excitingly defy expectation, and part of the pleasure of reading her is simply keeping up with her. You won’t know where Lucky Us is headed until, suddenly, it’s there. . . . The book’s opening lines, destined to be quoted in many a classroom for their perfection, are: ‘My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.’ . . . [It’s] a short, vibrant book about all kinds of people creating all kinds of serial, improvisatory lives. Changes occur because characters fall in and out of love, trouble and, yes, luck. And even when the bad luck is devastating, they dust themselves off and inventively move on.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Bighearted, rambunctious . . . a bustling tale of American reinvention . . . [a] high-octane tale of two half-sisters who take it upon themselves to reverse their sorry, motherless fortunes . . . If America has a Victor Hugo, it is Amy Bloom, whose picaresque novels roam the world, plumb the human heart and send characters into wild roulettes of kismet and calamity. . . . Love will fizz and fizzle, outrageous lies will be told, orphans will find happiness and heartbreak, and fate will sweep in to drive characters into hellish corners of the world. . . . There are few American novelists writing today who can spin a yarn as winningly. . . . Welcome to America, dear reader. Lucky us.”—The Washington Post
“Bloom’s crisp, delicious prose gives [Lucky Us] the feel of sprawling, brawling life itself. . . . Lucky Us is a sister act, which means a double dose of sauce and naughtiness from the brilliant Amy Bloom.”—The Oregonian
“A tasty summer read that will leave you smiling . . . Lucky Us is about Bloom’s uncanny ability to conjure the tone of the war years—broken hearts held together by lipstick, wisecracks and the enduring love of sisters, come what may.”—USA Today
“Exquisitely imagined . . . [a] grand adventure.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Marvelous picaresque entertainment . . . Our heroines’ prospects darken, brighten, and darken again with every turn of Bloom’s cosmic kaleidoscope. Parades of finely drawn characters—a Spanish makeup artist, a black jazz singer afflicted with vitiligo, a lovely Italian nouveau riche family in Great Neck, New York, a soulful German mechanic—enter and leave the scene. . . . To read Bloom’s fiction is to experience afresh how life is ruled by chance and composed of spare parts that are purposed and repurposed in uncanny ways—it’s a festival of joy and terror and lust and amazement that resolves itself here, warts and all, in a kind of crystalline Mozartean clarity of vision.”—Elle
“A fireworks display of delightful, if sometimes confounding, surprises . . . wildly twisting . . . spryly spontaneous.”—The Wall Street Journal
“[Bloom] writes with such spare, efficient grace. . . . Her words are carefully chosen to cut clean and deep. . . . Even [her] casual asides stack up, like pearls strung on a wire. . . . Taken together, they make this odd, precocious girl’s story feel as big and small and strangely marvelous as life itself. [Grade] A-”—Entertainment Weekly
“This coming-of-age story begs for a string of exuberant adjectives: heartbreaking, triumphant, lush and sparkling. . . . The book is fanciful but deep, the world is flawed but beautiful, and Eva can never decide between grief and joy because, it turns out, you can’t: Life is a high-wire balancing act suspended between the two.”—More
“In Bloom’s masterful hands, this scrappy band of misfits is totally loveable.”—Marie Claire
“In a relatively small number of pages, she gracefully creates a bustling crowd of characters, many of whom might well star in a novel of their own. . . . Lucky Us is a beautifully textured story of getting by and moving on; of a time when Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ‘plummy, patrician voice . . . managed to be the voice of people who never spoke that way’; of creating a family from both the people you’re born to and the ones you find along the way. And, most of all, it’s a wickedly warmhearted tale of two very different sisters and their meandering paths through young adulthood; each finding, eventually, her own way home.”—The Seattle Times
“Bloom’s book beautifully explores the myriad ways in which we define and create the American family, and ultimately how we carve our path when life keeps throwing obstacles in our way. . . . Lucky Us is a beautiful novel with complicated and layered messages about survival, family and obligation, but ultimately it is a novel about hope and possibility, when we finally understand that we are more than the sum of our circumstances.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A novel of striking emotional depth, proving anew the Chekhovian truth that genuine comedy can be deeply sad.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Imaginative . . . gloriously satisfying . . . These characters are separated by fate and distance, but form a vividly rendered patchwork American family (straight, gay, white, black, citizen, immigrant). Bloom transforms history to create a story of stunning invention, with characters that readers will feel lucky to encounter.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Unrepentantly quirky, a madcap romp complete with road trips, secret identities, aspiring Hollywood starlets, and a tarot card–reading fake psychic . . . At its core, this is a novel of resilience, with the war serving as both a life-changing event and no more than the background noise of an impoverished existence. Full of intriguing characters and lots of surprises . . . readers of literary fiction and twentieth-century historicals, as well as fans of wacky humor, will find it an excellent choice.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“A multilayered, historical tale about different kinds of love and family. Bloom enlivens her story with understated humor as well as offbeat and unforgettable characters. . . . A hard-luck coming-of-age story with heart.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Lucky Us indeed—another Amy Bloom book. And, if it’s possible, even more powerful and affecting than her last novel, Away. This is a poignant book that manages to be funny, an unflinching portrait that manages to be tender, a tough story that manages to also have jazz and grace. Bloom is a great writer who keeps stepping into new territory, entirely unafraid. She is one of America’s unique and most gifted literary voices.”—Colum McCann
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The term lucky in the title seemed ironic for much of the novel, as the heroines mostly struggle with little reward. To call Iris a B-actress would be generous. And Eva spends much of her teen years reading Tarot cards for desperate women in a beauty parlor. But Eva is considered the intelligent one and things begin to pan out for her. Iris isn't quite as lucky. The pleasure of Lucky Us is that the title isn't ironic; it's hopeful. The family that the characters create doesn't care about the sexual preference, skin color or failures of anyone. The beautiful tableau at the end make up for a brief stretch of tedium in the novel's middle and make it all worth the effort. There's a lot of love in this story.
The title of the book is ironic, but it turns out to be truer than one would imagine. "Luck," Amy Bloom says, "depends on how you look at the world. Iris and Eva are more or less lucky.
I didn't like the book. I couldn't relate to any of the characters' they were all self-serving, and the ending fell flat.
Top international reviews
The story has an excellent start with Eva and her mother visiting her birth father when his wife dies ; Eva's mother had been the mistress but the father had spent time with both families. Eva's mother promptly disappears and leaves her with her half-sister and her father, who is a bit of a dead loss. Iris wants to be a star and works towards it and when their father steals her money they both set off from Iris to break into films. The story is set just before the second world war. Iris is betrayed by someone looking out for herself and the sisters move on acquiring a group of varied and eccentric friends and acquaintances who substitute for family.
The atmosphere of the 1940s is well conveyed as is the career of someone starting out in show business at the time. The author touches on social changes and the position of women as part of the story as well as the changes which happen because of the war. All of this is interesting and the narrative is engaging in a way but I found that I wasn't quite sure what the book was trying to say and the actual storyline was very slight. I enjoyed it when reading it but it wasn't very memorable and little or nothing about the book will live with me. In the end it was an unsatisfying read.
In short I really wanted to like this and it's a nice story but just not believable to me.
After a tough start, things begin to look up. Author Amy Bloom has a great knack for detailing history’s lesser known byways and in this case, we’re introduced to the glamorous lesbian world of the movies. Unfortunately, Iris is betrayed by her female lover and the two girls trek east to New York to make a fresh start with makeup artist Francisco, who’s one of the book’s endearing characters. In New York, they find refuge with the Torelli family. Iris is the governess, and their father (forgiven) is the butler. Iris falls for the cook, who dearly wants to have a baby with Gus, her husband of German descent.
Then it does become about the war, because Gus is rounded up as an enemy alien and taken to Germany. His time there is predictably horrible. He sends letters to Eva describing it - another less well known piece of history. Meanwhile, back in the States, Iris and Eva snaffle little Danny from a Jewish orphanage so the cook can have a child to mother. Then there’s a terrible accident, and suffice to say, Iris ends up in an English burns unit along with several soldiers. Eva and Danny move to a little house with the dying Edgar, who has been courting an interesting black singer with vitiligo - another well-drawn character.
With a noticeable lack of formal education, Eva sets up as a reader of Tarot in the beauty parlour run by Francisco’s relatives. One of the great things about all these people is that they’re decent: just ordinary folks making the best of a bum rap. Bloom’s characters make some sardonic comments about fate and the necessity to make your own way in life. We’re given a strong sense of a colourful meld of people and events and this review can’t do it justice. It all turns out pretty well in the end though, and you come away with a feeling of satisfaction and gratitude for being so entertainingly enlightened.
This is the second book that I have read by Amy Bloom, the first one was "Away" which was equally as impressive although set in a completely different time.
These are two of the best written books that I have ever read. The author uses a very economical style yet creates characters of great depth & emotion. You feel as though you want to follow them through the rest of their lives.
Literary fiction at its best.
Some parts seemed to have potential only to be abandoned and suddenly you are moved on to another part of the story for no apparent reason. It did not flow well. I think if she concentrated on a couple of parts of the story and developed them properly, it could have been really good. Pity.